December 26, 2012

Fleece Blanket Tutorial


Fleece feels good to the touch, but it is sort of weird to sew: regardless of how careful you are when measuring and cutting it, as you sew it, one side will stretch and the whole thing will look wonky.

Since I do not like fleece blankets with knots, sewing is the solution for me, although I have used a couple of different alternatives to knots when I did not have time to sew it. So, here is my version of a fleece blanket, which includes one fringed side.

You will need:

Solid fleece, 72" x 60"
Matching colorful fleece, 72" x 60"
Contrasting thread
Walking foot
Basic sewing supplies

 With right sides together, pin the selvage (long) sides, and then one short side. You will trim off the selvage later, so pin away from it.
Start by sewing one long side - here the fleece with flowers is on top.
Next, sew the other long side - now with the back, the solid fleece, facing you. Sew on the same direction you sewed the first seam. I find that by sewing this way, if the fleece stretches, the difference will show on the short side we are not sewing, and it will be easy to trim it later. I am using a glove on my left hand, as it helps move the fleece better.
Now, sew the 'top' of the blanket, one of the 60" sides. So, three sides are sewn and one is open. Trim the selvages on the long sides, and flip the blanket inside out, smoothing the seams and the corners.
It is time to top stitch. Do it the same way you sewed the seams: first one long side, flip the blanket so the back faces you, sew the other long side, then top stitch the short side.
Now, let's stitch some lines over the blanket, like quilting it, so when it is washed it won't look funny! Without marking anything (this is just a blanket!), eyeball about 4 inches from the edge and stitch all the way to the bottom, open side.
Flip the blanket and do the same thing on the other long side, this time sewing with the back of the blanket facing you. Then, do the same thing on the 'top' side of the blanket.
Now, sew a line down the middle: fold the blanket in half lengthwise, and pin lightly (you do not need to have the pin go through both layers). Open the blanket so you can now follow the pins as you sew, pretty much sewing a straight line. Now, your blanket will have a line on each side, about 4 inches from the edge, a line on the short side, also 4 inches from the edge, and a line down the middle.
As I mentioned above, both fleece pieces were cut to the same measurements, sewn using a walking foot, and still the edges do not match on the side that has not been sewn. Now, just trim this side so the excess fleece is removed and you have a straight edge.
Using sharp scissors, and working on the unfinished short end you just trimmed, cut the fringe: 4 or 5 inches deep, about 1/2" wide.
Finally, stitch across the fringed side, about one inch above the fringe, and you are done!

I made four of these blankets, and my hands did not hurt from cutting fringes all around them. And no uncomfortable knots!

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